I have seen numerous documentaries and films on The Loch Ness Monster. Most of the movies told about a man-eating beast lying in the depths of the Loch Ness in Scotland. Amateur films more than anything. The documentaries told of a wild goose chase, and sightings of perhaps a prehistoric creature that had somehow survived through the ages, living in tranquility.The Water Horse is by no means any of those things. It shows us a clear and fresh take on the famed Nessy. It is adapted from Dick King Smith's novel of the same name.
It comes from the Producers of The Chronicles of Narnia, another well-made fantasy feature. To put things straight, the story speaks of the legend of a water horse, a sea-creature that hatches an egg before its death, and dies at the birth of its offspring. It is asexual. There can be no more than one water horse existing on the planet at a time. It grows in size freakishly fast. It is hard to say the period of time through which the story runs.
The story of The Water Horse is told by an aged man to a couple of tourists, sitting in an Inn in Scotland. The old man, played suitably, by Brian Cox. He speaks of Scotland at the time of the 2nd World War, of a country-boy named Angus MacMorrow(Alex Etel), living in a huge manor with his mother and sister. His father, a veteran of the War, hasn't seen home in years, and is presumed dead after his ship was sunk. Young Angus, on a pleasant day of collecting sea shells by the shore, discovers an egg. An egg of a Water Horse. He cares for it, looks after it, and calls it his greatest friend. And so begins the life of the Water Horse. It is a friendly, lovable creature at first. Adorably cute. Named Crusoe by Angus, within a very short span of time, it grows to monstrous proportions, and is set free in the Ness. Angus still cares for his friend Crusoe. He goes to the Ness to see it. And much like Harry Potter and Buckbeak the Hypogriff, Crusoe gives him a ride on his back. To the depths of the Ness and back out again.
There are pros and cons in the movie, but the pros outnumber the cons by a mile. Apart from having commendable visual effects, the acting is exciting, with awe and anguish from the young Angus. Ben Chaplin, who plays Lewis Moubray, an injured/decommissioned soldier of the war, is the best of the lot. Morissey is the flaw in the casting. A spot of overacting, but he just looks plain weird in this role after that disaster of a sequel to Basic Instinct. The others fit the bill in the casting department. Alex Etel is perfect in the role of the young Angus.
The movie, perhaps a tad 15minutess or so longer than it should have been, suffers from the impressive amount of detail it has. It falls short when it comes to editing. There were times I found myself thinking,"Now why did they jump that scene?" However, if it falls short there, it makes up in the background music. A Scottish tinge to it. Pleasant to the ears.
The Water Horse is a nice film to watch, especially with the family. It comes across as a children's movie, and the utter cuteness that the creature possesses when it is young will just make you go "Aww" at times.
The film, in its simplicity, shows us man's undying eagerness to help other living creatures around him. A cross shown to greatness in Spielberg's E.T.. This might not be an E.T., but it doesn't disappoint like most of the boy-rescues-animal flicks. Definitely worth a watch after all the mess they've made with movies based on the Loch Ness Monster. This one differs. It's good.
7/10 for the acting. 7/10 for the story. 7/10 for the visuals. They ended the movie the way lots of movies end. Doesn't necessarily mean that they'll make a sequel. But, if they make one to this, I'll watch it.